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Capital Weather Gang

Irma weakens to tropical storm after battering Florida, turns its sights on Georgia

By Jason Samenow, Greg Porter

September 11, 2017 at 8:13 AM

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Video from Brickell, Miami shows scenes before and after Hurricane Irma struck. (Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)

(This post was updated throughout Sunday and last updated at 8:00 a.m. Monday to reflect the latest National Hurricane Center advisory and current conditions in Florida.)

Extremely dangerous Hurricane Irma first crashed into the Florida Keys on Sunday morning and then made a second landfall on Marco Island on Florida's west coast Sunday afternoon, unleashing violent wind gusts up to 142 mph and storm-surge flooding. As it plowed through northern Florida Monday morning, however, it weakened to a tropical storm.

At 8 a.m., the storm was centered 105 miles north-northwest of Tampa. The storm center was barreling north-northwest at 18 mph toward southern Georgia. Almost the entire state of Georgia was covered in heavy rain.

"Significant river flooding is likely over the next five days in the Florida peninsula and southern Georgia, where average rainfall totals of 8 to 15 inches are expected," the National Hurricane Center said.

Dangerous flash flooding due to heavy rain and storm surge was occurring around downtown Jacksonsville. And thanks to Irma's large wind field, a broad area was experiencing tropical-storm force winds and gusts up to hurricane strength.

Irma's peak winds of 70 mph make it a strong tropical storm, but much less intense than the Category 4 hurricane it was just one day earlier with 130 mph winds. The National Hurricane Center said Irma is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon.

Coastal waters could still rise well above normally dry land along the coast of Florida, Georgia, and southern South Carolina, resulting in areas of flooding.

Related: [Everything you need to know about Irma]

The latest

(National Hurricane Center)

Northern Florida

A flash flood emergency was issued for downtown Jacksonville early Monday morning, in effect through 12:30 p.m., due to heavy rain and storm surge. The Weather Service urged affected residents to move to higher ground. The Weather Service reported the storm surge flooding in Jacksonville set an all-time record.

Wind gusts in northeast Florida had reached up to 60 to 80 mph.

Central Florida

Irma's eyewall passed on the east side of Sarasota around 10 p.m. and was about 60 miles north of Tampa around 5 a.m., producing wind gusts around 75 mph.

Even on Central Florida's east coast, tropical-storm force winds and hurricane-force gusts were fairly widespread Sunday evening. At St. Lucie, a gust reached 99 mph and Cape Canaveral gusted to 79 mph.

Southwest Florida

The worst winds had passed this region just prior to 9:30 p.m. Sunday but gusty showers continued on the storm's backside.

Irma's eyewall passed through Fort Myers and Cape Coral just before 7 p.m., producing wind gusts of 88 and 101 mph and then passed on the west side of Port Charlotte between 8 and 9 p.m.

As the eyewall moved over Naples late Sunday afternoon, it reported sustained winds of 93 mph and a gust to 142 mph – the strongest recorded from this storm in the United States.

Josh Morgerman, a hurricane chaser positioned in Naples, described the scene: "Went thru violent, destructive winds. Screaming, whiteout, wreckage blowing by in fog." Then the calm eye moved overhead.

Before the arrival of the storm center, water was actually retreating from Naples to Tampa due to offshore winds from the east pulling the sea back. But forecasters warned residents that shortly after the storm's center passed to the north and winds blew back onshore, waters would rush back in rapidly causing severe inundation.

Related: [Hurricane Irma is literally sucking the water away from shorelines]

In Naples, as of 7 p.m., water levels were about four feet above normally dry land but the level was starting to stabilize around 8 p.m. Amazingly, it set its second lowest water level and highest water level all in the course of 8 hours.

In Ft. Myers, waters levels were rising through 10 p.m., but not as dramatically as they had in Naples.

Southeast Florida

In Southeast Florida, spiral bands continued to unleash tropical-storm-force winds. Even into the evening, winds were gusting up to 60 to 75 mph around Miami and West Palm Beach (7 p.m. gust of 75 mph), but they weren't as strong as earlier.

In the afternoon, sustained winds in Miami and Fort Lauderdale reached 50-60 mph through the early afternoon, gusting as high as 80 to 100 mph. Miami International Airport clocked a gust to 94 mph and an isolated gust hit 100 mph at the University of Miami.

Also during the afternoon the seas had risen several feet above normally dry land. Social media photos and videos showed water pouring through Miami's streets, in between high-rises, amid sideways sheets of rains.

Late Sunday afternoon, waters were finally starting to slowly recede around Miami.

The Keys

While the core of the storm and worst winds passed the Keys early Sunday morning, the Weather Service warned storm surge flooding was ongoing as winds on the storm's backside shoved water over the islands. Gusts still reached 50 to 60 mph as of 7:45 p.m.

Early Sunday afternoon, the maximum surge at Cudjoe Key was estimated at 10 feet.

Statewide

About 3.6 million customers were without power.

Particularly in South and Central Florida, torrential rain had fallen, with widespread totals of 6 to 10 inches and pockets up to 10 to 14 inches. Numerous flash flood warnings had been issued.

As the storm's spiral bands walloped Central and Northern Florida, the potential for tornadoes arose in the swirling air, and the Weather Service issued watches and scores of warnings.

Storm warnings in effect and predicted surge height and winds

Tropical storm warnings cover much of central and northern Florida (except for the far west panhandle), the entire Georgia coast, and the southern coast of South Carolina.

A storm surge warning remained in effect for much of Florida's west coast and northeast coast and extended north along the Georgia coast and southern South Carolina coast.

Effects on Florida

Conditions will continue to deteriorate Monday over Florida in the north part of the state as Irma plows northward. Conditions will slowly improve to the south.

Here's a guide to what is most likely and where …

Jacksonville/Daytona Beach 

Time frame for worst conditions: Sunday evening through Monday afternoon.

Hazard threats: Rain, tornadoes, wind, surge

The northeast portion of Florida will be spared the worst of Irma but won't escape unscathed. Sustained tropical-force winds of 40 to 55 mph will overspread the area from Daytona Beach to Jacksonville by Sunday evening, with the worst winds (gusts up to 70 mph) occurring overnight. Heavy rain will be a story line here as six to 10-plus inches of rain is expected to fall in a relatively short period.

As with other parts of the state, the tornado threat will peak overnight on Sunday as Irma's storm center tracks northward.

Storm-surge values will be elevated (two to four feet) but should result in only minor to moderate coastal flooding.

Potential effects on Georgia and the southeastern United States

Georgia/Atlanta/South Carolina

Time frame for worst conditions: Monday morning through Tuesday morning.

Hazard threats: Wind, rain and, at the coast, storm surge

Hurricane warnings extend well into Georgia, covering over half of the state. Parts of southern South Carolina also are under a hurricane warning, with Irma poised to maintain its hurricane-force strength for several hours after landfall.

Sustained tropical force winds of 25 to 45 mph will spread over Georgia from south to north starting late Sunday night. The strongest sustained winds (40 to 50 mph) with gusts of 60-plus mph will move in on early Monday morning, lasting through Monday evening. This includes Atlanta, which is under a tropical-storm warning, where sustained winds of 25 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph will occur from about 10 p.m. Sunday night to about 5 p.m. Monday afternoon. This could lead to downed trees and outages.

Heavy rain is also expected, with storm totals of six to 10 inches forecast, the bulk of which should fall Monday.

Wind gusts on Monday afternoon will be well into the tropical storm force range for all of Georgia and South Carolina. Via NWS

Storm surge along the Georgia/South Carolina coast will be a hazard, as well, with the Hurricane Center predicting a surge of four to six feet. Of particular concern is the duration of the storm surge. Persistent onshore winds will extend the surge component here, with elevated water levels potentially lasting up to 36 hours.

Irma's path so far

At 3:35 p.m. Sunday, Irma had made its second U.S. landfall of the day over Marco Island, where a wind gust of 130 mph was reported.

Earlier, the storm officially made its initial U.S. landfall at Cudjoe Key at 9:10 a.m. as a Category 4 hurricane. Winds over the Keys raged, gusting to at least 94 mph in Key West (before the wind instrument failed) and up to 120 mph in Big Pine Key. Witness video showed the rising storm surge flooding Key West streets.

Before its encounter with the Keys, Irma made landfall on the north coast of Cuba as a Category 5 hurricane just after 9 p.m. Friday, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. It became that country's first Category 5 hurricane since 1924. Fueled by the extremely warm ocean temperatures, Irma reintensified to the maximum hurricane classification level after weakening slightly on Friday afternoon.

As it scraped Cuba's north coast early Saturday, it produced a sustained wind gust of 118 mph, and a gust to 159 mph was reported at Falla, Cuba, in the eyewall of the hurricane.

Irma’s eye approaches the north coast of Cuba on Friday night. Via NASA

On Friday, before making landfall along Cuba's north-central coast, Irma passed north of Haiti and then between Cuba's northeast coast and the Central Bahamas.

Thursday evening, the center of the storm passed very close to the Turks and Caicos, producing potentially catastrophic Category 5 winds. The storm surge was of particular concern, as the water had the potential to rise 16 to 20 feet above normally dry land in coastal sections north of the storm center, causing extreme inundation.

A devastating storm surge and destructive winds had also probably battered the southeastern Bahamas, near Great Inagua Island.

Through early Thursday, the storm had battered islands from Puerto Rico to the northern Lesser Antilles.

While the center of Irma passed just north of Puerto Rico late Wednesday, a wind gust of 63 mph was clocked in San Juan early Wednesday evening, and more than 900,000 people were reported to be without power. In Culebra, Puerto Rico, a small island 17 miles east of the main island, a wind gust registered 111 mph in the afternoon.

On Wednesday afternoon, the storm's eye had moved over Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, and its southern eyewall raked St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Early Wednesday afternoon, a wind gust to 131 mph was clocked on Buck Island and 87 mph on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the hurricane passed directly over Barbuda and St. Martin in the northern Leeward Islands, the strongest hurricane recorded in that region and tied with the 1935 Florida Keys hurricane as the strongest Atlantic storm to strike land.

As Barbuda took a direct hit, the weather station there clocked a wind gust to 155 mph before it went offline.

The storm also passed directly over Anguilla and St. Martin early Wednesday, causing severe damage.

Irma's place in history

Irma's peak intensity (185 mph) ranks among the strongest in recorded history, exceeding the likes of Katrina, Andrew and Camille — whose winds peaked at 175 mph.

Among the most intense storms on record, it trails only Hurricane Allen in 1980, which had winds of 190 mph. It is tied for second-most intense with Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and the 1935 Florida Keys hurricane.

The storm maintained maximum wind speeds of at least 180 mph for 37 hours, longer than any storm on Earth on record, passing Super Typhoon Haiyan, the previous record-holder (24 hours).

Late Tuesday, its pressure dropped to 914 millibars (the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm), ranking as the lowest of any storm on record outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico in the Atlantic basin.

The storm has generated the most "accumulated cyclone energy," a measure of a storm's duration and intensity, of any hurricane on record.

Irma's landfall pressure of 929 millibars in the Florida Keys was the lowest for any U.S. landfalling hurricane since Katrina (920 millibars) and for a Florida landfall since Andrew (922 millibars). It ranks as the seventh-lowest pressure of any U.S. landfalling storm.

When Irma crashed into the Keys early Sunday as a Category 4, following Hurricane Harvey's assault in Texas, it marked the first time on record that two Category 4 storms had made landfall in the United States in the same year.

Capital Weather Gang hurricane expert Brian McNoldy contributed to this report. Credit to tropical-weather expert and occasional Capital Weather Gang contributor Phil Klotzbach for some of the statistics in this section.

NAPLES, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Jordan Alvarez hugs his mother Katie as they stand on the beach in Naples before the arrival of Hurricane Irma arrives into Southwest Florida on September 9, 2017 in Naples, Florida. The Naples area could begin to feel hurricane-force winds from Irma by 11 a.m. Sunday and experience wind gusts over 100 mph from Sunday through Monday. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Police patrol along Ocean drive as the city starts to feel the affects of approaching Hurricane Irma on September 9, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida. Current tracks for Hurricane Irma shows that it will hit Florida's west coast later this weekend. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: The skyline is seen as the outerbands of Hurricane Irma start to reach Florida on September 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Florida is in the path of the Hurricane which may come ashore at category 4. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Caleb Rich and his wife Rachel Rich put metal shutters over windows on their home ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma September 9, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Governor Rick Scott has ordered the mandatory evacuation of millions of people from the southern part of the state ahead of the unprecedented storm. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Wood storm shutters bear the names of past hurricanes ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma September 9, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Governor Rick Scott has ordered the mandatory evacuation of millions of people from the southern part of the state ahead of the unprecedented storm. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Flamingos take refuge in a shelter ahead of the downfall of Hurricane Irma at the zoo in Miami, Florida, U.S. September 9, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A woman buys wine across from the empty water shelf in a supermarket in Riverview, Florida on September 9, 2017. Hurricane Irma weakened slightly to a Category 4 storm early Saturday, according to the US National Hurricane Center, after making landfall hours earlier in Cuba with maximum-strength Category 5 winds. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas KammNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
HOLLYWOOD BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 9: Jawad Muhammad collects sand bags from the beach to protect his home as Hurricane Irma approaches the Florida coast on September 9, 2017 in Hollywood Beach, Fl. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
HOLLYWOOD BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 9: A lone swimmer braves the waves as Hurricane Irma approaches the Florida coast on September 9, 2017 in Hollywood Beach, Fl. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
HOLLYWOOD BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 9: Stan Cohen and his grandson Cooper Guitierez, 7, play on the lifeguard stand as Hurricane Irma approaches the Florida coast on September 9, 2017 in Hollywood Beach, Fl. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
HOLLYWOOD BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 9: A flip flop washes ashore as Hurricane Irma approaches the Florida coast on September 9, 2017 in Hollywood Beach, Fl. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: People carry belongings as they make their way to a shelter on the campus of Florida International University as outer bands of Hurricane Irma begin to hit the area on Saturday September 09, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Dishes are seen outside the National Hurricane Center as Hurricane Irma closes in on Saturday September 09, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
Departing passengers form a long queue to check in at Orlando International Airport ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma making landfall, in Florida, U.S. September 9, 2017. REUTERS/Gregg Newton
Jesus Suarez, left, 22, helps his father in law Oscar Santos, right, cover the windows of his truck as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Jennifer Nelson, senior keeper at Zoo Miami, leads a cheetah named Koda to a hurricane resistant structure within the zoo, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 in Miami. Though most animals will reman in their secure structures, Koda and his brother Diesel and some birds will ride out the storm in temporary housing. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
A car rides in the shoulder to pass other cars in evacuation traffic on I-75 N, near Brooksville, Fla., in advance of Hurricane Irma, Saturday, Sept, 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
FT LAUDERDALE - SEPTEMBER 9: Davis Bohl helps his wife Cathi off this oversized chair in Ft Lauderdale, FL, September 9, 2017 as Hurricane Irma arrives in the area.(Photo by Andrew Innerarity/For The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Plastic over a mailbox blows in the wind as the outer bands of Hurricane Irma arrive on Saturday September 09, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
NAPLES, FL - SEPTEMBER 9: People arrive at a shelter at Calusa Park Elementary School ahead of Hurricane Irma in Naples, Fla. on Saturday, Sept 09, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
KEY WEST, FLA-SEPTEMBER 9, 2017- Tati Roberts of Key West, Fla., retreats from the Higgs Beach pier Saturday, September 9, 2017. Tropical storm force winds from Hurricane Irma began hitting the Lower Florida Keys around 2 p.m. with a forecasted landfall late Saturday night as a category 4 storm. (Rob O'Neal For The Washington Post )
ESTERO, FL -SEP 09: Virginia Malisheski (of Estero, Florida) had to be transported by an ambulance crew who stabilized her (from leg pain and exhaustion) before they tried to get her into the shelter. -The Germain Arena in Estero, Florida became a shelter for storm refugees today. By late afternoon it was filled to capacity with thousands of mostly locals fleeing Hurricane Irma which is expected to hit this area (near the Naples-Fort Myers area) hard. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
ESTERO, FL -SEP 09: Tired families wait in the outer area (as others wait in line) of the Germain Arena for a shelter spot. -The Germain Arena in Estero, Florida became a shelter for storm refugees today. By late afternoon it was filled to capacity with thousands of mostly locals fleeing Hurricane Irma which is expected to hit this area (near the Naples-Fort Myers area) hard. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
ESTERO, FL -SEP 09: C.J. Jones and her dog Little Bit are tired after hours in line hoping to find a shelter spot in the Germain Arena. She opted for the shelter because, "I live in a mobile home so I don't think there's much of a chance I'll have anything to go back to." -The Germain Arena in Estero, Florida became a shelter for storm refugees today. By late afternoon it was filled to capacity with thousands of mostly locals fleeing Hurricane Irma which is expected to hit this area (near the Naples-Fort Myers area) hard. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: Acting Deputy Director Mark DeMaria prepares to discuss Hurricane Irma on a live broadcast at the National Hurricane Center on Saturday September 09, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
Miami Beach, FL - SEPTEMBER 08: People are seen on the beach before Hurricane Irma hits on Friday September 08, 2017 in Miami Beach, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
TOPSHOT - Rough surf churned up buy the approaching hurricane damage the docks at Whale harbour in the Florida Keys as winds and rain from the outer bands of Hurricane Irma arrive in Islamorada, Florida on September 9, 2017. The number of people in the US state of Florida under orders to evacuate in the face of approaching Hurricane Irma has climbed to 6.3 million, authorities said. / AFP PHOTO / Gaston De CardenasGASTON DE CARDENAS/AFP/Getty Images
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: A man stands in front of screens displaying Hurricane Irma as emergency agencies monitor the hurricane at the Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center on Sunday September 10, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
The winds and sea are whipped up off of the Rickenbacker Causeway as two people cross the street in Miami as Hurricane Irma approaches on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. ( Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
People stand in line for breakfast in the disaster shelter at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla. on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in advance of Hurricane Irma. The full shelter is closed to new evacuees. (Mike Lang/Sarasota Herald-Tribune via AP)
Local fisherman P.J. Pike points to the normal low tide in Hurricane Harbor, as Hurricane Irma approaches Fort Myers Beach, Florida, U.S., September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
Water rises up to a sidewalk by the Miami river as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in downtown Miami, Florida, U.S., September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
ESTERO, FL -SEP 10: A homeowner in Bonita Springs makes a plea to Hurricane Irma. -A Sunday morning tour of the area around Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida revealed winds and rain that were beginning to be strengthened to Hurricane force quality. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
FT LAUDERDALE - SEPTEMBER 10: Clay Pace (L) and William Williams (R) take a break from this bicycle ride near downtown Ft. Lauderdale FL September 10, 2017 as Hurricane Irma's wind and rain take effect. (Photo by Andrew Innerarity/For The Washington Post)
NAPLES, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Cory and his daughter Corrie Salmon walk out onto Vanderbilt Beach as Hurricane Irma sucks the tide out and arrives in Naples, Fla. on Sunday, Sept 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
BONITA SPRINGS, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Flood waters begin to rise in neighborhoods as Hurricane Irma arrives in Bonita Springs, Fla. on Sunday, Sept 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
ESTERO, FL -SEP 10: Strong rain and street flooding made for moments of low visibility while driving as Hurricane Irma began to gain strength midday Sunday in Estero, Florida. -A Sunday morning tour of the area around Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida revealed winds and rain that were beginning to be strengthened to Hurricane force quality. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez gives an informational update on Hurricane Irma at the Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center on Sunday September 10, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
ESTERO, FL -SEP 10: Members of the Martinez family (there were 10 members in 2 autos) run in strong wind and rain to get inside the Germain Arena to take shelter. The extended family had tried to stay in their homes in Bonita Springs but it began to flood and they fled to the shelter late morning today. -A Sunday morning tour of the area around Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida revealed winds and rain that were beginning to be strengthened to Hurricane force quality. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
ESTERO, FL -SEP 09: Dotty Brown (age 90) looks up as the rain and stronger winds began to blow in her face and be more noticaeble as she waited to get into the Germain Arena for shelter. She resorted to using a bathing suit top to cover her head. She lives near the water and said that she didn't want to take chances so she came to the shelter. -The Germain Arena in Estero, Florida became a shelter for storm refugees today. By late afternoon it was filled to capacity with thousands of mostly locals fleeing Hurricane Irma which is expected to hit this area (near the Naples-Fort Myers area) hard. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
An American flag is torn as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Javier Garcia, right, and his wife Marissa Soto sit with their neighbor's dog Ilito as they ride out Hurricane Irma in a shelter in Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A rough surf surrounds Boynton Beach inlet in Boynton Beach, Fla. (Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) .
HOLLYWOOD, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: A blown over gas pump is seen as Hurricane Irma passes through on September 10, 2017 in Hollywood, Fl. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
Destroyed roofs at a residential areas are seen as Hurricane Irma passes south Florida, in Miami, U.S. September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A local resident walks across a flooded street in downtown Miami as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, U.S. September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Kyle Nisbet tries to help pull the car of two stranded motorists out of a flooded street after they got stuck as Hurricane Irma hits the area on Sunday September 10, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Mia Herman has an acquitance take a photo of her sitting on a fire hydrant on a flooded street as Hurricane Irma hits the area on Sunday September 10, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
NAPLES, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: People watch wind blowing trees as Hurricane Irma arrives from the Naples Daily News offices in Naples, Fla. on Sunday, Sept 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
HOLLYWOOD, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: A downed utility pole is seen as Hurricane Irma passes through on September 10, 2017 in Hollywood, Fl. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
ESTERO, FL -SEP 10: A Subway sandwich shop sign is submerged (foreground) and a Publix grocery story sign is badly damaged in Estero, Florida after Hurricane Irma came through with the lead band of strength (photo taken during a lull as the eye had just passed). -A Sunday tour of the area around Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida revealed that winds and rain from Hurricane Irma did some some flooding and property damage. Photos were taken during a lull in the harsh wind as the eye passed over. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: A crane tower is seen after part of it collapsed from the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 10, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm on Sunday, lashing the state with 130 mph winds as it moves up the coast. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ESTERO, FL -SEP 10: A street sign in Estero, Florida is bent over after Hurricane Irma came through with the lead band of strength (photo taken during a lull as the eye had just passed). -A Sunday tour of the area around Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida revealed that winds and rain from Hurricane Irma did some some flooding and property damage. Photos were taken during a lull in the harsh wind as the eye passed over. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
BONITA SPRINGS, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Flood waters and storm damage are seen at Palm Lake RV Resort as Hurricane Irma works its way up the west Florida coast in Bonita Springs, Fla. on Sunday, Sept 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
BONITA SPRINGS, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Matthew Tyler stands in his apartment after parts of the roof caved in and flooded as Hurricane Irma works its way up the west Florida coast in downtown Bonita Springs, Fla. on Sunday, Sept 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
BONITA SPRINGS, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Residents walk out into flood waters as Hurricane Irma works its way up the west Florida coast, in downtown Bonita Springs, Fla. on Sunday, Sept 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
epa06197958 Ivette Ale walks her dog after the Hurricane Irma?s winds stopped in Miami, Florida, USA, 10 September 2017 (issued 11 September 2017). Many areas are under mandatory evacuation orders as Irma Florida. EPA-EFE/CRISTOBAL HERRERA
FT LAUDERDALE - SEPTEMBER 11: Jennifer Polo and her dogs Maggi (L) and Betsy (R) are back home, waiting for her roommate top open their apartment in Ft. Lauderdale, FL September 11, 2017. Polo said she evacuated north but ran out of gas en route and had to take a taxi back home to face the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. (Photo by Andrew Innerarity/For The Washington Post)
FT LAUDERDALE - SEPTEMBER 11: Beach resident Amela Desanto walks along Ft. Lauderdale Beach Blvd. whose asphalt roadway is covered with sand, to her condominium September 11, 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. (Photo by Andrew Innerarity/For The Washington Post)
BOWLING GREEN, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Gonzalo Saldivar and his one year-old son Luke get their first look at the roof that flew off of their home and landed at a nearby intersection during the high winds caused by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida. Hurricane Irma made landfall as a Category 4 storm twice in the United States on Sunday after tearing a path across islands in the Caribbean Sea. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
The roof is blown off a house as Rick Freedman checks his neighbor's damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
BONITA SPRINGS, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: The roof of a gas station is shown damaged by Hurricane Irma winds on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida. Yesterday Hurricane Irma hit Florida's west coast leaving widespread damage and flooding. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: A damaged car is seen outside of a hotel following Hurricane Irma on Monday September 11, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
Pam trees stand ripped of their fronds in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Kelly McClenthen returns to see the flood damage to her home with her boyfriend Daniel Harrison in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Hotel guests are served breakfast by lamplight as the power remains off at the Courtyard by Marriott one day after Hurricane Irma struck the state September 11, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Irma made landfall as a Category 4 storm twice in the United States on Sunday after tearing a path across islands in the Caribbean Sea. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Evacuees, from left, Dennis Larios, Odaliz Larios, Jennifer Larios and Kevin Renoso, wait to leave the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
NAPLES, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Ducks swim through a street the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida. Hurricane Irma made another landfall near Naples yesterday after inundating the Florida Keys. Electricity was out in much of the region with localized flooding. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Partially submerged boats caused by Hurricane Irma sit in the water in a marina in downtown Miami, Florida, September 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Bethany Kellam walks onto the southend beach of Tybee Island, Ga., Monday, Sept., 11, 2017. The National Weather Service placed most of Georgia under a tropical storm warning. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Freddie Hernandez, left, and Bertin Vialobos, right, use machetes to cut up a fallen tree during clean-up efforts from Hurricane Irma in the Royal Duke Trailer Park on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Fl. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Chris Perez stands near a downed palm tree that landed on his family's home during Hurricane Irma in the Palmetto Bay on Monday September 11, 2017 in Miami, FL. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
IMMOKALEE, FL -SEP 11: Scores of power lines went down as a result of the high Hurricane Irma winds along Corkscrew Road near Estero, Florida. -The town of Immokalee, Florida was hit hard by Hurricane Irma. The community has many farm workers that live in poor living conditions and their homes seemed to be hit the hardest by the storm. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
IMMOKALEE, FL -SEP 11: Adela Silverio tries to put back a window that was blown out from its frame on her trailer during Hurricane Irma. -The town of Immokalee, Florida was hit hard by Hurricane Irma. The community has many farm workers that live in poor living conditions and their homes seemed to be hit the hardest by the storm. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
IMMOKALEE, FL -SEP 11: (L) Mario Valentine sits still stunned in his badly damaged home in Immokalee with his daughter Maria, age 5. At far right is his wife Sandra Guzman. To the left of her is Valentine's sister-in-law Margarita Romero. -The town of Immokalee, Florida was hit hard by Hurricane Irma. The community has many farm workers that live in poor living conditions and their homes seemed to be hit the hardest by the storm. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
IMMOKALEE, FL -SEP 11: Because of power outages, one of the only markets open in Immokalee today experienced long lines. -The town of Immokalee, Florida was hit hard by Hurricane Irma. The community has many farm workers that live in poor living conditions and their homes seemed to be hit the hardest by the storm. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Folks enjoy the beach next to a washed up sailboat from Hurricane Irma at Miami Marine Stadium on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Fl. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
MARCO ISLAND, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: A roof from a nearby building is seen against a funeral home after Hurricane Irma passed in Marco Island, Fla. on Monday, Sept 11, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
MARCO ISLAND, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: An office with the roof missing is seen after Hurricane Irma passed in Marco Island, Fla. on Monday, Sept 11, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
NAPLES, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: A destroyed gas station is seen after Hurricane Irma passes in Naples, Fla. on Monday, Sept 11, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
NAPLES, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: The sun rises at trailer park surrounded by flood waters after Hurricane Irma passed in Naples, Fla. on Monday, Sept 11, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
IMMOKALEE, FL -SEP 11: Cars and trucks drive through flooded streets in downtown Immokalee, Florida today. -The town of Immokalee, Florida was hit hard by Hurricane Irma. The community has many farm workers that live in poor living conditions and their homes seemed to be hit the hardest by the storm. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
Photo Gallery: The storm hit Florida with 130 mph winds, striking the Florida Keys and Miami, then moved up the state’s Gulf Coast toward the Tampa Bay area. Floridians start the long process of damage assessment.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.

Greg holds a B.S. in meteorology from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and an M.S. in meteorology from the University of Maryland. He currently works as an aviation meteorology consultant in Washington D.C.

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